MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 By Xotic PC: Haswell Goes Mobile

Test System Specs And Benchmark Suite

Test System Specs

Synthetic and gaming tests are performed on the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2, Eurocom Panther 5D, and Alienware M18x. The Dragon uses Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 780M mobile GPU, while the M18x employs the previous-generation GTX 680M. The Eurocom Panther 5D uses a desktop processor and has a pair of Geforce GTX 680M video cards running in SLI. All comparison machines use DDR3 or DDR3L-1600 RAM, and their CPUs and GPUs run at factory clock rates. The MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 runs the GPU with a factory overclock of an additional 75 MHz on the core and 500 MHz for the memory.

Alienware M18x
Intel Core i7-3940XM (Ivy Bridge) Quad-Core @ 3.0 GHz, 55 W TDP
Intel HM77 Express
8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s
Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M 2 GB GDDR5
180 GB Intel 520 Series SSD + 500 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive

Eurocom Panther 5D
Intel Core i7-3970X Extreme (Ivy Bridge) Six-Core, 3.5 GHz Base Frequency, 150 W TDP
Intel X79 Express Chipset
32 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s
2 x (SLI) Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M, 4 GB GDDR5
3 x 256 GB Crucial m4, RAID 5

We perform our productivity-oriented benchmarks on systems equipped with the 3rd-gen (Ivy Bridge) Core i7-3740QM and i7-3940XM quad-core chips. The 3740QM resides in a Dell Precision M4700 mobile workstation (with its Quadro K2000M disabled during testing), while the i7-3940XM is in a Dell Precision M6700 Covet Edition. The M6700 does a great job in getting the most performance out of the XM processor without overclocking. The 4930MX processor in the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 runs with a slight overclock that allows the CPU to run at 4.1 GHz in turbo boost mode.

All productivity benchmarks are run on an optimized image of Windows 8 loaded on a 180 GB Intel SSD 520 drive, which we installed ourselves. Compression tests are run on a RAM drive to minimize the impact of storage hardware on each machine.

Dell Precision M4700
Intel Core i7-3740QM (Ivy Bridge), Quad-Core, 2.7 GHz Base Frequency, 45 W TDP
Intel QM77 Express Chipset
8 GB DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s

Dell Precision M6700 Covet Edition
Intel Core i7-3940XM (Ivy Bridge) Quad-Core, 3 GHz Base Frequency, 55 W TDP
Intel QM77 Express
8 GB DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s, Dual-Channel
Nvidia Quadro K5000M

Now, let's take a quick look at our currrent notebook test lineup.

Benchmark Suite

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Version, Benchmark Only
Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Version 1.1.2, Benchmark Only
File Compression7-Zip Version 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to 7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
WinRAR Version 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
WinZip Version 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Premiere Pro CS6Version, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Maxon CinebenchVersion 11.5 Build CB25720DEMO
CPU Test, Single- and Multi-Threaded
HandBrake CLI
Version 0.98: Video From Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minute 22 Seconds
Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
Version Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 52 min, convert .wav to .m4a audio format
Version Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert .wav to .mp3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Battlefield 3
Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" Mission 90-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Settings
Test Set 2: High Quality Settings
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
Bioshock Infinite
Built-In Benchmark Utility @ 1920x1080
Test Set 1: Ultra, DirectX 11, DDOF
Test Set 2: Ultra, DirectX 11
Test Set 3: Very High
Test Set 4: High
Call Of Duty: Black Ops IICampaign Mode, "Celerium" Mission 2-Minute Fraps
Test Set 1: Extra Quality, High Filtering, 8x MSAA, Ambient Occlusion, High Depth of Field
Test Set 2: High Quality, Medium Filtering, 2x MSAA, Ambient Occlusion, Medium Depth of Field
Test Set 3: Normal Texture Quality, Low Texture Filtering, Low Depth of Field
Crysis 3
Test Set 1: Very High Details, Very High Textures, Motion Blur Medium, Lens Flare Enabled, 2x SMAA, 16x AF
Test Set 2: Highe Detail, High Textures, Motion Blur Low, Lens Flare Enabled, 2x SMAA, 8x AF
Test Set 3: Low Detail, Medium Textures, Motion Blur And Lens Flare Disabled, No AA, 4x AF
DiRT: ShowdownBuilt-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Settings
Test Set 2: High Quality Settings
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
Hitman: AbsolutionBuilt-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Settings
Test Set 2: High Quality Settings
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
Sniper Elite V2
Built-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Preset
Test Set 2: High Quality Preset
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Preset
Test Set 4: Low Quality Preset
Tomb Raider
Built-In Benchmark @ 1920x1080
Test Set 1: Ultimate
Test Set 2: Ultra
Test Set 3: High
Test Set 4: Normal
Total War: Shogun 2
Built-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: High Graphics @ 1920x1080, FXAA
Test Set 2: Very High Preset @ 1920x1080
Test Set 3: Balanced Graphics @ 1280x720
World of Warcraft: Mists of PandariaHoneydew Village, Between Guards In The Rain, 60-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: Ultra Preset
Test Set 2: High Preset
Test Set 3: Medium Preset
Version 3.0.2
Datacolor Spyder4 Elite
Brightness, Contrast, White Point, Luminance Uniformity, Color Uniformity, Color Gamut, Color Accuracy, Monitor Rating

A Note on FPS

We realize that acceptable frame rates are debatable on a per-game and per-vendor basis, which is why we're simply listing averages. As long as we're getting smooth game play, we typically choose higher-quality visuals over higher frame rates. After all, we want to see all of the work that game designers put into making a game visually appealing. Typically, we find that 20 FPS is the absolute minimum we’re willing to call acceptable, with 30 FPS a more ideal minimum. In multi-player games we favor higher frame rates and low lag.

Display Testing Methodology

Display testing and calibration is carried out using Datacolor’s Spyder4 Elite calibration system. The system consists of a full-spectrum, seven-color sensor that plugs into the system’s USB port, and the Spyder4 Elite software to control it. All of the measurements and charts are generated by the Spyder4 Elite software. The only changes are a quick crop to make the images easier to read.

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  • cobra5000
    My A10 laptop w/7660g may not have the specs but it plays great and only cost me $505.99.
    How about that for bragging rights!
  • sha7bot
    Forbes magazine posted a great article on this system, as well. Seems like Alienware, ASUS, and Clevo have some serious competition.
  • lunyone
    I have an AMD a6 quad core CPU w/7670 dGPU that cost me <$400 and it will game okay for most things. Of coarse it's no screamer unit, but for 95% of what I do it works just fine. Yes I would have loved to had a better system for light gaming, but my laptop fit my budget. I wish that we got off this 1366 x 768 resolution and started out at 1600 x 900 for 11-15" laptops as a minimum, but that is just me.
  • Ducktor
    Please remove the term W/h from the text as well as "Watt per hour" from the graph on page 14. This unit is meaningless! 1W = 1J/s which is already a rate of power consumption. Dividing this unit by an hour yields 1W/h = 1J/3600s^2 which actually implies an acceleration in power consumption! Such mistakes are really hard to accept on a technical site like Tom's
  • danwat1234
    Yea, the 180w ac adapter in this laptop, and also in the Gt60-2od laptop (the 15" version of this laptop) should really come with a ~240w AC adapter like what the Asus G750 has, but it doesn't. So they made NOS to adapt.
    It is unfortunate. What if I want to crunch on the high-end CPU and the GPU 24/7 for some reason? Can't do it with a 180w AC adapter.

    To those thinking that the built in single fan isn't good enough, it is a 12V fan! I have never seen a 12V fan in a laptop before but this one has it. The Coolerboost feature ramps up the fan RPM to maximum and really keeps the temperatures down.

    There are some reports of bad paste jobs so if you are having high temps, that may be the reason. Call up MSI to verify that your warranty will not be void and then repaste it. MSI is cool in that they'll usually allow you to take off the heatsink whereas Asus won't.

    Thanks Tom's for making a much better review than what Anand did!

    So on page 14, the max power draw from the battery when the laptop is unplugged and you are gaming is only 85 watts? That must mean that the dedicated graphics is shut down and the HD4600 is only on? Can you have the 780m when on only battery power?
  • luckiest charm
    I would feel awkward using this machine in trains, at relative's places, or anywhere else I can be spotted on so I don't become a laughing stock. :P
  • custodian-1
    With the problem with cell phones being stolen I would not take something out of the case.
  • boro169
    I think it should be noted that derived notebooks from this like deviltechs are much cheaper. the starting point of msi is 2400 euros in my country and deviltechs modified msi cost me 2050 with a 250gb samsung 840 and a 1 tb 5400 hdd and the 780m.. yeah it doesn't have the steelseries keyboard it has de gt60 blue blaclight one but...
    for those talking about its not for hardcore gamers... I think they are wrong because i can't take my cosmos II tower with the 3930x and my titan on my back when i visit my girlfriend on train a 300km away from my home... and not everybody can have two of those beasts.. the desktop is always better but you can't drag it always with you to trips...
    for the one talking about being scared of being robbed... I don't know why he walks on the streets wearing a wallet you COULD be robbed... or a plane could crash on your head.... ¬¬ then nobody would buy an smartphone. because to use it indoor and using outdoors and old nokia because if it is robbed its not an expensive lose....
    if you at least talked about the processing power lose when not wall plugged or so that would be a reasonable comentary...
  • adgjlsfhk
    "Plus, there's the warranty coverage on the tuned hardware, which is a plus."
  • warezme
    You know the new Haswell GTX780m Alienware models have been out for awhile. You should have done your comparison with one of those. LIkely more expensive but more direct comparison.
  • Wisecracker
    For all those bucks, it needs a 120Hz refresh

  • ajcroteau
    Those dragon decals are very sexy :)
  • dalauder
    The multi-colored keyboard is stupid.

    If you have multi-colors, use them to some utility. Make the Numpad blue, and numbers and function buttons green with the rest red or something useful. Ideally, alternating number colors would be great. Or maybe the whole keyboard red except for green AWSD and Shift keys.
  • bokeh
    Anonymous said:
    Those dragon decals are very sexy :)

    Not decals. The graphics are etched into the red anodized metal. I tried to capture them in the photos, but they still look better in person.
  • OleTrondheim
    wow, awesome review. You guys covered pretty much all bases.
    And it looks like you put Anandtech`s review to shame.

    Good job guys :)
  • Sakkura
    There's an error on the first page. You say the Geforce GTX 780M normally has memory running at 2.5 GT/s, but it's actually 5 GT/s. GDDR5 effectively runs at a quad data rate, so 1250 MHz = 5000 MT/s.
  • cats_Paw
    I actually have a model that looks exactly the same (GT780DX), but has lower specs so i might be able to point out a few key points:
    First, lets get rid of the CONS:

    -The screen is too heavy for the plastic covering it, this can cause a lot of problems. In reality, if you dont open and close the lid with both hads carefully each time, you are almost guaranteed to break the union point of the plastic surrounding the screen.

    -Loud. The fan is good and quite eficient but its loud. I dont know why they decided to use 1 fan instead of 2 (one for gpu other for CPU), but i guess its for more features.

    -Thin plastic covers. Some parts of this laptop feel weak, especially the botton part of it. Ive iopened the laptop around 3 times for mods and thermal paste change and each time i was SURE id braek that cover. It hols dor now thou.

    -Keyboard. While the keyboard is definitly above average. However, you need to press quite hard to make sure it registers. This is ok with the keyboard as its quite sturdy (1.5 years in, no issue whatsowever ), but bare in mind you will need strong actuation force to use this keyboard correctly.

    -Touchpanel( i dont mean the one used as mice, but the one at top for turn on, etc): The touchpanel is usefull, however it can become unresponsive at times (lucky they aded a Blue ray open button). The worst part is that it feels very fragile and cheap. It will do its job, but since the rest of the laptop is build very well, this feels out of place.

    -Trackpanel (the one used as mice): At laeast in my laptop its fairly unaccurate. Its not a problem for me as i would not game with it, but at times it is bothering.

    -Um, oh and... yeah, this thing is heavy. If you get the laptop+the charger+some mice+some cds.... you can end up carring around 8-10 KG :D.

    Now to The PRos:

    -The screen is amazingly good (dont expect to use it outdoors, but its quality is some of the best in the market).

    -The sound is decent (I am an amateur audiophile and this thing sounds awsome for a laptop, and its totally pasable for regular use).

    -The performance and temperatures are great. Granted my verion is not so packed as it runs a i5-2340M//GTX670M, but my temps after changeing thermal paste to arctic silver 5 at 30 C ambient never surpased 70 C at load (thou this was a short test to check if i applied the thermal paste correctly, so it will vary im sure).

    -The gimiks are fairly cool. The MSI logo is not too chessy, the beyboard lighting system is feirly nice and usefull, and in general it does not seem that they added this just to justify the price.

    -Button to instantly turn off trackpanel. This is just nice.

    -Good overall conectivity (many usb) and also a decent webcam.

    Now the only thing that could be a deal breaker for me is the fact that this is a machine you need to be very carefull with.
    I highly recommend this laptop chasis (MSI actually sold the patent to a few competitores on the chasis, so its very good), and any model using it, but i STRONGLY suggest to anyone that buys it to use a very good carring case.

    The laptop dosent lay well in bags. Allow me to explain: Most bags dont carry laptops in horizontal but in vertical. In most cases, the thiner part of the laptop goes down, and the wider up. This will make the pressure of each step you make impact the screen, as the screen gets all the pressure if you put the laptop downwards that way.
    In other words, without a carring case that will keep the laptop well safe, sooner or alter the screen will suffer, and also most likely the conectors between the screen and the rest of the laptop.
  • g-unit1111
    The look of this laptop is sweet, but the price tag will make me think twice about buying one. Especially when you consider that it's basically a rebaged Sager NP9570 with a crazy RAID SSD setup.
  • yobobjm
    I owned an MSI for a while, I had it for about 2 years and never have any problems. Now I want one of their new GS70s
  • richfloors
    I think using an old Alienware to make this machine look good is very wrong,still, I bet my m17x with dual 5870's would blow it away though!